I just found Anna Brown’s video and YouTube channel this morning. I’m enjoying the clarity and simplicity of her presentation.
One of my hobbies is amateur radio.
During the Covid-19 pandemic I took the opportunity to get my amateur radio license. I started with the Technician class license and about nine or so months later, I earned my General class ticket. I’ll probably work on getting my Extra Class ticket before too long.
Amateur radio is a good hobby for someone like me. There really is no shortage of things you can investigate. One of the things I’d like to do is finish a 20 meter magnetic loop antenna that I started researching. One of the characteristics of this kind of antenna is that you need a high quality air or vacuum variable capacitor for tuning the loop. I bought a new vacuum variable capacitor for a few hundred dollars. They are amazing beasts. The RF voltage and current at the top of a magnetic loop antenna are intense!
Here’s an image of the current conditions:
I’m not up to speed on all of the metrics reported on these charts. As usual, you can find a good web page that goes into more detail.
The numbers I currently look at include the SFI (Solar Flux Index), the SN (Number of Sunspots), the A and K values, and the HF Conditions.
In the above, the 30 meter and 20 meter bands are open (“Good.”) Other bands are fair or poor. I usually work on 20 meters when I have time to “go play radio.”
An SFI of 100 or greater and a sunspot count of 80 or more usually seems to bode pretty well for HF propagation. Low A and K values are important too.
All that being said, you don’t really know how the bands are going to perform until you get on the air. And due to fluctuations in band conditions, the bands can open and close quickly.
It’s all part of the hobby. If you love it, you love it.
I enjoyed listening to this message from Nisargadatta Maharaj.
Nisargadatta Maharaj (17 April 1897 – 8 September 1981), born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli, was an Indian guru of nondualism, belonging to the Inchagiri Sampradaya, a lineage of teachers from the Navnath Sampradaya and Lingayat Shaivism.
All of life ultimately comes down to luck.
From time to time I find myself saying “Life just unfolds.” I’m suggesting that becoming attached to appearances is a mistake. When we become attached, we invariably try to control, and when we try to control we lose The Way.
No one can predict how their life will unfold. The complexity is overwhelming. So we fall back on making guesses and predictions based on past experiences of one kind or another. We do the best we can in the moment and that’s just how it seems to be.
Most people have a strong sense that they are the independent authors of their actions. This strong sense is illusory. Perhaps evolution consed it up out of spare parts and wired it into us because it conferred an evolutionary advantage of one kind or another. Anthony Cashmore has a paper (PDF) that suggests something along these lines.
Suggesting that free will is an illusion often causes people to raise objections.
A fairly common one goes something like this: “Well, if I have no free will, should I just sit on the couch all day, waiting to see how my life turns out?”
You could try to do that. Yet eventually you will get up off the couch and go back to living your life. What people often seem to overlook is how deeply and intimately we are connected to all of … this, and by this, I mean what Alan Watts called “The Colossal Reality.”
You and I cannot get outside of existence. We think of ourselves as separate beings. Yet, if I look for the place where I end and someone or something else begins, I can never find it. Buddhism and other ancient Indian religions often talk about the concept of “No Self.” I subscribe to it. And at times, I wince when language requires that I use pronouns like I, we, me, him, her. (See what happened in that last sentence? That’s what I’m talking about.)
Success definitely requires hard work. Sadly, though, it’s just not up to you whether you will or will not be able to put in the hours. You either have the factors that allow you to work hard or you do not. If you lack them, you may get them in the future. If you have them now, you may lose them in the future.
Every moment of every day, you’re a different person. As Heraclitus said, you cannot step in the same river twice. We are also never the same person twice.
In closing, here is a video that seems helpful in laying out the basic issues:
It’s been a few months since I have taken the time to get out and “go play radio.” So I rounded up my totes with radio gear and went to the North Kirkland Community Park here in Kirkland and set up my antenna and transceiver.
It was a good day. The weather was warm but not hot. Setting up the antenna was easy enough. I made about six or seven contacts, all across the United States.
I hope to head out to the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington, again soon. I like that I can park out there and set up a 20 meter (wavelength) half-dipole between two tall masts. That helps with signal strength.
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.Hafez, Persian Poet
Marjaneh and I had a lovely weekend in San Diego celebrating the birthday of one of her grandchildren.
The weather was pleasant. We had dinner out several times and enjoyed walking around Old Town. Our hotel was nice and we were able to enjoy the pool area with family.
I endured a major depression about six years ago. It was horrible. I wound up sleeping in my truck and barely able to function. My life was in shambles. I was angry at myself and angry at the world.
A quote that I came across recently has stuck with me: “If you’re always getting angry, you’ll turn your nature against The Way.” I certainly found that to be true.
I remember having dinner by myself one evening at a local Shari’s restaurant. When I went to pay my check the hostess told me someone else had paid it for me – out of sympathy, I suppose. When I look at photographs of myself from that time I simply look sad.
“Depression is incredibly pervasive and thus important to talk about,” he said. “Depression is like the worst disease you can get. It’s devastating.”Dr. Robert Sapolsky
If you want a good introduction to the topic I invite you to review Dr. Sapolsky’s presentation:
The following is a beautiful poem from a Hafez, a Sufi mystic.
I am planning to include this as something that my loved ones will enjoy in the future. It speaks to me deeply.
A copy of the audio recording is here. If you do not have a YouTube subscription, this audio plays continuously without stopping to play advertisements.
Please see the YouTube channel for Samaneri Jayasāra for additional recordings of this kind.